Combating Labor Discrimination

Project Duration
December 2014
December 2017
Funding and Year

The Problem

In November 2012, Mexico passed sweeping reforms to its Federal Labor Law (FLL). The reform expands protections against discrimination for workers by expressly prohibiting new categories of discrimination. The 2012 labor law reforms further refined the legal concept of sex discrimination in Mexico to recognize specific manifestations of such discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of gender and sexual orientation, sexual harassment, and forced pregnancy testing. The Mexican Ministry of Labor (Secretaría del Trabajo y Previsión Social or STPS) has begun implementing these new labor discrimination protections, but more work remains to be done. One significant challenge to effective enforcement is the small number of workers filing any labor discrimination complaints with authorities. Additionally, workers seem to be unevenly aware of the newly expanded list of prohibited categories of discrimination under the law. 

Our Strategy

The project will increase compliance with the expanded protections against labor discrimination with a focus on gender discrimination, discrimination based on sexual orientation, sexual harassment, and forced pregnancy testing by: 

  • Improving enforcement of the expanded protections against labor discrimination by labor inspectors; 
  • Increasing employer participation in social compliance programs; and 
  • Improving worker understanding of the legal reforms on labor discrimination.

The project strategy includes efforts to:

  • Improve labor inspectors’ enforcement of labor discrimination laws, through training on the relevant reforms, adoption of corresponding modifications to the inspection manual, methodologies, protocols, and tools, and incorporation of the reforms in the electronic planning and tracking system;
  • Amend private sector social compliance programs, as needed, to include a focus on and incorporate best practices with respect to combatting labor discrimination. While increasing employer participation and adoption of programs to combat such labor discrimination;
  • Expand worker knowledge and awareness of Mexican labor laws governing such discrimination and how to effectively report violations. 

The project will be implemented in the states of Queretaro and Jalisco. This project is designed as a pilot program that can eventually be scaled up to other regions and/or sectors and/or generalize the skills, knowledge, and best practices gained to cover other types of labor discrimination. 

Heartland Alliance International
Contact Information:
(202) 693-4900 / Office of Trade and Labor Affairs (OTLA)
Worker Rights